Transmissions: Predators, prey, and Pride

  • by Gwendolyn Ann Smith
  • Wednesday June 15, 2022
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Illustration: Christine Smith
Illustration: Christine Smith

Spurred on by a Twitter account known for its provocative nature, @libsoftiktok, a cadre of alleged Proud Boys members stormed into the San Lorenzo library in the East Bay June 11. Their target was a "Drag Queen Story Hour" event hosted by local drag artist Panda Dulce.

About 10 or so of the group marched in, calling the host and others homophobic and transphobic slurs. One of the men was reported by KRON 4 as wearing a T-shirt showing an assault rifle with the slogan, "Kill Your Local Pedophile."

Dulce was escorted away by security, and local sheriff's deputies de-escalated the situation.

The harassment in San Lorenzo, plus the arrest the same day of 31 alleged members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho intent on reportedly starting a riot at the city's Pride event, point to a new, more violent anti-LGBTQ movement in the United States. While a clear escalation, it is also very much in line with the rise in "Don't Say Gay" laws, aimed at squelching lessons on LGBTQ history in public schools, as well as the countless attacks on transgender people in 2022.

The actions are probably best typified by the words of another who was present in Coeur d'Alene and part of a separate protest of the Pride event.

"The drag queen thing, they're preying on our children and that's my target," said Tom Meyer, who was reported by Idaho Statesman as being part of a group holding signs and singing hymns as a counter protest against the Pride event. "What they're doing is they are grooming children for pedophilia, in my belief."

These events fit a pattern that has been growing for months, of equating LGBTQ people — particularly transgender people and drag queens — as being "groomers" preying on young children. The whole notion seems to tie back into 1970s-era false notions of recruitment of — and sexual activity with — children by LGBTQ people.

I have recently been reading the latest book by Julia Serano, who is probably best known for her treatise on sexism and femininity, "Whipping Girl." Her latest, "Sexed Up," is an even deeper dive, focusing on how society portrays sexuality.

One of the key points she covers is a view of sex as "predator" versus "prey." Allow me to quote Serano: "While our existence imposes no harm upon others, many people nevertheless view and treat LGBTQIA+ people as though we constitute a threat. What we threaten, in their minds, is the notion of perfect 'opposite sexes' and the sanctity of the Predator/Prey script."

I've also discussed several times — in this very column — about people who are not trans being unable to quite understand why someone would transition, and who tend to assume it's being done for either a deceptive purpose, or for a fetishistic one. This is where the "every bad person dresses as the opposite sex to land a job" movie trope comes from. It's also where the belief that trans people are out to "trick" someone into having sex with them manifests.

This also sounds a lot like what the aforementioned Meyer is alluding to.

If you view sex as having a predator and their prey, and if you think that LGBTQ people are inherently sexual and deceptive, then you will assume us interacting with, well anyone, is setting up that predator/prey dichotomy.

I mentioned that these recent developments are an escalation of months of actions. We've seen LGBTQ and, in particular, transgender people being treated as groomers, usually contorting the term far from its initial meanings, which have to do with child exploitation and sex trafficking. It's not just drag queens reading stories to kids at the library that are being cast as somehow pedophilic - even providing access to support and resources for young, largely trans masculine people is being treated as "grooming." This is where Texas' attempts to treat parents who support their trans children as abusers come from, as well as other states' moves to criminalize trans-affirming medical care.

I think this is going to get worse, too.

We've seen these moves against transgender people and others ramp up at light speed this year, and every move begets a bigger one. With protests against drag queen story hours as well as attempts to bar children access to even kid-friendly drag shows, there is a clear path to criminalize any trans presentation in public.

Anti-LGBTQ factions do not recognize a single point of light between drag presentation and trans people, and if you can't understand how they'll turn this into preventing trans people from having custody of their own kids, as well as being in places where children may be present, then you're not seeing the big picture.

Their goal is the eradication of LGBTQ people as a whole, and they will use any avenue to do so. If they can whip up a 1970s Anita Bryant-era "gays recruit" frenzy to foment violence against us, they'll apparently be happy to do so.

That these actions in Coeur d'Alene and San Lorenzo occurred on the day before the sixth anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Florida should remind us all how fragile our community is right now.

What's next is going to be up to us. This Pride Month, we need to be more vigilant than ever, because complacency is not going to serve us — not with those standing against us so willing to resort to violence.

We need to stand together, arm in arm, and let them know that we will not stand for it. We are not predators, nor will we be their prey.

Gwen Smith highly recommends "Sexed Up" by Julia Serano. You'll find her at

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